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Preventive Breast Cancer Surgery

If you are at high risk of developing breast cancer, it is important to explore your options to reduce your risk. Experts at Gundersen’s High Risk Breast Care Clinic will work with you to determine the best course of action. Sometimes, preventive breast cancer surgery gives you the best chance to avoid developing breast cancer.

If you have an increased risk of developing breast cancer, the benefits of preventive breast cancer surgery can be significant. Take the time to talk with your doctor and family about how you intend to lower your risk for breast cancer.

Preventive breast cancer surgeries we perform

Bilateral Prophylactic Mastectomies
Removing the breasts before breast cancer starts is the most effective way to reduce your risk. This is known as prophylactic or preventive mastectomy. This operation reduces the risk of developing breast cancer by greater than 90 percent.

This is understandably a very difficult choice for most women. Your care providers will discuss this option with you. The discussion will include level of effectiveness of this operation in preventing breast cancer, but will also include risk of surgery and a discussion of a woman's feelings about the operation years after it is performed.

If performed, many women also choose plastic surgery to reconstruct new breasts.

Bilateral Prophylactic Oophorectomies
Bilateral prophylactic—or preventive—oophorectomies involve the removal of both ovaries and fallopian tubes. Although this is often done to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer, it has also been proven to lower the risk for breast cancer in certain kinds of hereditary breast cancer—such as women with BRCA1 or 2 mutations. In fact, the impact on reducing the breast cancer risk can be fairly strong. Removing the ovaries before menopause in a woman at increased risk for developing breast cancer may reduce the breast cancer risk by as much as 50 to 70 percent. Because screening for ovarian cancer is not effective, prophylactic oophorectomies are usually recommended to reduce risk of ovarian cancer in women who have BRCA1/2 mutations. Your care providers will discuss the benefits and risks of this option with you.

Love + Medicine

Every day, Gundersen Health System delivers great medicine plus a little something extra—we call it Love + Medicine.

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